Skies over Indonesia turned blood red with smoke and haze due to widespread forest fires which have been burning since June affecting around 1 million people and causing acute respiratory infections.
While forest fires in the country is nothing new, often caused by slash-and-burn farming practices, the situation has aggravated due to El Nino — unusual winds that cause warm surface water from the equator to move east towards Central and South America. Over 73,000 fire alerts have been reported across Indonesia since the beginning of September 2019.
A resident of Jambi province, Sumatra, who witnessed the red sky, told BBC that the haze “hurt her eyes and throat”. Known as the Rayleigh scattering, the unusual occurrence has generated quite a buzz on social media, with many sharing pictures of the “blood red” sky.
This comes after Amazon rainforests saw one of the worst wildfire seasons with over 40,000 reported fires and over 906,000 hectares burned.